Pepper Custom Baits Built for Aquatic Warfare! Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:09:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Iaconelli’s Smallmouth Smorgasbord Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:09:00 +0000 Mike Iaconelli jumped out of his Toyota Tundra shaking his head in amazement at the weighty limits of smallmouth that were brought to the scales on the first day of competition at the Bassmaster Elite Series on the St. Lawrence River.

“They smashed ‘em yesterday!” exclaimed Iaconelli, as he removed the motor toter from his Yamaha in preparation for Day 2 launch.

Fact is, Iaconelli smashed them too. He brought 20 pounds to the scales, yet still, it was only good enough for 14th place.

“These fish have so much to eat, such an incredible forage base, they’ve just all grown up and gotten bigger over the years here,” says Iaconelli in reference to his 20 years of tournament fishing experience on the massive St. Lawrence that connects Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean.

“In the 1990s it was all about largemouth fishing near Clayton and Alexandria Bay, and then, the gobies invaded Lake Ontario, and the smallmouth fishing got really good in the big lake. But these days this main river right here near Waddington is so healthy with a smorgasbord of forage to feast on that the smallmouth are just flourishing,” says Ike.
“When I caught fish in practice here earlier this week, they spit-up everything from gobies to smelt, plus tiny perch, crawfish and alewife. It’s crazy how much food they have to eat here,” explains the 2006 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

The leaderboard proves Ike’s theory correct. His Toyota teammate, Kevin VanDam busted a massive 24-pound limit anchored by a 6-pound beast of a bronzeback, and those who caught a typically very respectful 15-pound limit, found themselves all the way down in 80th place after the first day of competition.

So what lures does Iaconelli lean on most for mimicking the smallmouth-growing groceries of the St. Lawrence?

Tube Jigs – “Green pumpkin with black fleck, or watermelon with gold fleck are my two favorites, and they both resemble so many of the natural forage these fish feast on.”

Drop Shot – “I’m loving the brand new Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Hit Worm that just came out at the ICAST show last week. Smallmouth are all about feeding by scent and sight, and not only does that bait look natural, but it’s packed with scent too.”

4” Swimbait – “It seems like the biggest smallmouth always bite a swimbait because it’s just a hair larger than the other lures they see a lot of. And while big smallies may not eat as often, when they do, it seems like they want a big meal.”













Iaconelli might not be the part-time chef that Terry “Big Show” Scroggins is, but he certainly knows what to feed a smallmouth, and here on the St. Lawrence River that includes a wide variety of ‘groceries’ and lots of them.

VanDam Says Look for more Largemouth on the St. Lawrence Thu, 20 Jul 2017 01:54:00 +0000 Much of the talk coming into the Bassmaster Elite on the St. Lawrence River centered on unusually high water on the massive seaway that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

However, Kevin VanDam says lofty water levels will only increase catches of largemouth from the 71-degree waters that create an aquatic buffet for up to 13 species of whales a couple hundred miles upriver from the Elite Series venue in Waddington, New York.

“Smallmouth definitely dominated and got the victory the last two times we competed here, but the high water we’re facing this week has sent far more largemouth shallow than what we’ve seen in the past,” says VanDam. “So largemouth will definitely play a bigger role in what guys will bring to the scales this year.”

Hence on the final day of practice, anglers must decide whether to focus on flippin’ and froggin’ for largemouth in the shallows, or draggin’ and droppin’ vertically for deeper water smallmouth on the main river.

As evidenced by the iconic soft plastic tube VanDam had tied to a Quantum Smoke spinning reel for dragging over deep water smallmouth, and in the other hand, a much contrasting swim jig for largemouth in the weedy shallows — rest assured, the 7-time Bassmaster Toyota Angler of the Year will prepare for both.

Introducing the Baby Boom Boom Wed, 19 Jul 2017 02:24:00 +0000

Here is a look at the NEW Baby Boom Boom swimbait from Optimum baits

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See the full Optimum line up here.


Another Creation from Molix Tue, 18 Jul 2017 19:45:00 +0000

The guys at Molix are always thinking out side of the box.Carl Jacumsen introduces two NEW products revealed at ICAST 2017.

What’s NEW from Lucky Craft with Brent Ehrler Tue, 18 Jul 2017 01:19:00 +0000

Brent Ehrler introduces the NEW LC 1.5 Series with Center Flash.

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Check out the entire Lucky Craft line up here.

Nines Sunglasses from ICAST 2017 Mon, 17 Jul 2017 21:04:00 +0000

Mike Iaconelli introduces the NEW Nines sunglasses and share a few features of these new shades.

103 Stolen Fishing Rods, 56 Tackle Boxes Recovered Mon, 17 Jul 2017 20:42:00 +0000

Two individuals have been arrested and charged with multiple felonies after officers discovered tens of thousands of dollars in stolen fishing gear in their possession.

28-year-old Matthias David Munson and 26-year-old Natasha Marie Rickard are accused of stealing 103 fishing rods and reels, 56 tackle boxes and five fish finders around the Mille Lacs Lake area in Minnesota.

The arrests come after numerous reports of stolen fishing gear from Father Hennepin State Park and McQuoid’s Inn.

An Isle police officer pulled over a pickup truck that matched a witness description and, upon noticing a large number of fishing rods and tackle boxes in the bed of the pickup, questioned the driver. Matthias David Munson was unable to describe the brands of the rods in his possession.

The passenger, Natasha Marie Rickard, reportedly told police that Munson had even more fishing gear in his camper at Snake River Campground. That’s where officers found the mother lode—103 fishing rods and reels, 56 tackle boxes and five fish finders.

According to Kirsten Faurie of the Kanabec County Times, both individuals were charged by Kanabec County with two felony counts of receiving stolen property. Mille Lacs County also charged each of the individuals with one felony count of theft and one felony county of receiving stolen property.

Jordan Lee on Sapphire, Diamonds, and Living Rubber Mon, 17 Jul 2017 20:04:00 +0000 If life’s goodness were measured in pounds and ounces right now for young Bassmaster Classic Champion Jordan Lee, it’d be the equivalent of a monstrous 27-pound 4-ounce limit of bass.

Since his dramatic come-from-behind Classic win on Lake Conroe, he threatened to win Bassmaster Toyota Texas Fest last month, where he eventually finished 4th.

Away from the water, Jordan got engaged to his sweetheart of three years, Kristen, launched his own signature series Classic-winning football jig at ICAST, and discovered his new favorite fishing reel.

Diamond Rings

No surprise, Jordan first became smitten with Kristen at his first-ever Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Toho, Florida where she was working the tournament registration as a marketing assistant at Power-Pole.

After a sweet three-year relationship that oozes cuteness each time they’re seen together, Jordan bought his bride-to-be a beautiful pear-shaped diamond engagement ring at Ed White Jewelers in his hometown of Cullman, AL.

“We actually looked a rings a year ago, but I’m proud to say I never pressured him to get married,” says Kristen. “I wanted him to propose when he was truly ready, not because so many other people were telling him he should, or asking us when we would get married.”

Lee was logical in his approach to making a lifetime commitment, often assuring Kristen he loved her, but wanting to make sure he was financially secure and standing on stable ground in the fishing industry before he asked her to be his wife.

His Bassmaster Classic win in March obviously brought the career stability the humble 25-year-old desired.

So on a trip home to North Georgia to see Kristen’s parents, that included a fishing trip to Lake Lanier of course, the two planned a date to a local vineyard where Jordan popped the question and presented the gorgeous diamond ring.

Sapphire Washers

Diamonds are not only a girl’s best friend, but are actually super tough, and at the top of the hardness scale, just above sapphire for natural gems and materials. And fresh off diamond shopping, Lee discovered a sapphire jeweled spool tension washer inside his favorite new fishing reel at ICAST.

The new $199 Quantum Tour S3 features a super-hard sapphire plated washer inside the spool tension knob, creates a smoother, harder surface for the spool shaft to turn against. That leads to much improved longevity in the reel Lee couldn’t keep his hands off during his time in the Quantum booth at ICAST.

Football Jigs

When not in the Quantum booth, Jordan and Kristen could often be found at the Strike King booth proudly sharing the new “J Lee Comeback Jig” with media and retail dealers.

“It’s made of round, old skool, living rubber strands as opposed to the silicone strands that most jigs are made of,” explains Lee.

“Living rubber has more action than silicone, even when the jig is sitting still on the bottom of the lake, and I think that played a big role in getting so many quality bites that final day on Lake Conroe,” he says.

“Living rubber just ‘breathes’ better, and big fish can’t stand not to bite it,” believes Lee. “This is a structure jig for casting in 8 to 30 feet of water, and dragging slowly across the bottom. We’re making it in 1/2, ¾ and 1-ounce.”

When asked to choose just two favorite colors of the new jig, he chose Peanut butter and jelly, and plain ‘ol brown. He ties the jig to 15-pound fluorocarbon, and fishes it on a 7.3:1 Quantum Tour S3 for plenty of speedy line pickup when a bass bites in deep water.

Sapphire reel parts, diamond rings, and football jigs. Indeed, life is shining right now for Jordan Lee.

The Ultimate Storage Bag Mon, 17 Jul 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Greg Hackney introduces the NEW Money Bag from Bass Mafia. The Ultimate Storage Bag.

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Get you own Money Bag here.

The Coolest Cooler at ICAST 2017 Mon, 17 Jul 2017 03:04:00 +0000

In the market for a cooler! Orion Coolers set the standard, take a quick tour with FLW Tour pro Wesley Strader.

Get your own Orion Cooler here.